Turandot Live From Sydney Harbour

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

TURANDOT - Live from Sydney Harbour

Date: 15th September 2016

I've just had a highly interesting and thoroughly enjoyable evening at a tiny and very old fashioned cinema locally.  

Arriving early in order to park I decided to have a drink in the 'lounge' - which a dear sweet soul was in the process of opening up (I don't think it gets an airing that often).  I asked for a glass of cold white wine.  Bless her - she poked around in the fridge and pulled out a bottle of Heiniken - even I know that is beer though I never drink the stuff.  I saw some boxes of wine in another fridge and guessed they were probably white though of which pedigree I know not.  We had a discussion about plastic cups but I had plenty of time to drink my wine without taking it into the auditorium so she said she'd give it to me in a glass - have you ever had a glass of white wine served in a half pint beer tumbler filled half full!  Well I have and though it added to the fun of the evening, I didn't drink it all before the performance.

I am not a great Opera fan though I love Carmen, Aida and a few of the more well known ones but I wanted to see Turandot because it was coming from Sydney where my son lives.  I have actually attended Opera on the Water on one of my visits and also to the Opera House itself on another.

Whether it was because it was a small cinema and didn't have Sur-titles or whether someone forgot to switch them on, we watched the whole production with nothing to help us.  Had it been in French I'd have had some idea of what was happening,  but it was in Italian and other than guessing at a few words, I was almost totally lost.  To be fair we were given a synopsis of the story on a sheet of paper but that didn't really fill in many details.  Despite all this, the Opera was breathtaking and apparently it is the largest structure they've ever built for one of these productions. Being in the Open Air, the sky is virtually the limit.  There was a massive Dragon which breathed fire, a huge 'Palace' made of steel, and even fireworks though they didn't quite rival the New Year ones which I saw this year!!  And, of course, it has the wonderful 'Nessun Dorma'.  The costumes were gorgeous as were the performances. And despite the lack of titles, no one left.

I have purist friends who won't go to these CinemaLive productions but I think they are superb for many reasons.  Firstly they cost an absolute fraction of the usual price for seats for Opera, Ballet and Theatre.  You have first rate sound, can see everything and all the main action in close ups, and don't have to keep dodging from side to side to see the stage.  In fact, I've got so carried away with some of the productions from Stratford that I've clapped at the end.

And one last point.  Some people are rather snooty about Australians and their casual attire but they certainly know how to dress up for an occasion.  At the commencement of the film we saw shots of the audience arriving - many of the women were in lovely long dresses, some of the men in suits with open necked shirts and others were casual but smart.  All in all they were a lot more impressive than many an audience in London.  

I enjoyed the production so much I'd like to see it again soon but this time with the Sur-titles??  And I did get a little thrill every time I saw the Opera House and the Bridge in the distance knowing that my son was living just a little to the left of them in Darlinghurst where I used to live in the 60's.  Isn't life strange.  Had my fiancé not been killed in a car crash, I'd never have returned to the UK. And now my one and only son has been living in Sydney for five years and I doubt he will ever return.??

Not a very good photo but I took it in the Intermission - you can see the 'Palace' on the right and on the left the Opera House and the Bridge - Magic!

TURANDOT - Live from Sydney Harbour

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.